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For to me spoke the Duke, as I told you before ;
I always wanted to make a clean breast of it:
And now it is made-why, my heart's blood, that went
Trickle, but anon, in such muddy driblets,
Is pumped up brisk now, through the main ventricle,
And genially floats me about the giblets.
I 'll tell you what I intend to do:
I must see this fellow his sad life through-
He is our Duke, after all,
And I, as he says, but a serf and thrall.
My father was born here, and I inherit
His fame, a chain he bound his son with;
Could I pay in a lump I should prefer it,
But there 's no mine to blow up and get done with :
So, I must stay till the end of the chapter.
For, as to our middle-age-manners-adapter,
Be it a thing to be glad on or sorry on,
Some day or other, his head in a morion
And breast in a hauberk, his heels he 'll kick up,
Slain by an onslaught fierce of hiccup.
And then, when red doth the sword of our Duke rust,
And its leathern sheath lie o'ergrown with a blue crust,
Then I shall scrape together my earnings ;
For, you see, in the churchyard Jacynth reposes,
And our children all went the way of the roses ;
It's a long lane that knows no turnings.
One needs but little tackle to travel in ;
So, just one stout cloak shall I indue :
And for a staff, what beats the javelin
With which his boars my father pinned you?
And then, for a purpose you shall hear presently,
Taking some Cotnar, a tight plump skinful,
I shall go journeying, who but I, pleasantly!
Sorrow is vain and despondency sinful.
What's a man's age? He must hurry more, that 's all;
Cram in a day, what his youth took a year to hold :
When we mind labour, then, then only, we're too old-
What age had Methusalem when he begat Saul ?
And at last, as its haven some buffeted ship sees,
(Come all the way from the north-parts with sperm oil)
I hope to get safely out of the turmoil
And arrive one day at the land of the Gipsies,
And find my lady, or hear the last news of her
From some old thief and son of Lucifer,
His forehead chapleted green with wreathy hop,
Sunburned all over like an Æthiop.
And when my Cotnar begins to operate
And the tongue of the rogue to run at a proper rate,
And our wine-skin, tight once, shows each flaccid dent,
I shall drop in with-as if by accident--
“You never knew then, how it all ended,
“ What fortune good or bad attended
“ The little lady your Queen befriended ?"
-And when that 's told me, what 's remaining ?
This world 's too hard for my explaining.
The same wise judge of matters equine
Who still preferred some slim four-year-old
To the big-boned stock of mighty Berold,
And, for strong Cotnar, drank French weak wine,
He also must be such a lady's scorner !
Smooth Jacob still robs homely Esau :
Now up, now down, the world 's one see-saw.
-So, I shall find out some snug corner
Under a hedge, like Orson the wood-knight,
Turn myself round and bid the world good night;
And sleep a sound sleep till the trumpet's blowing
Wakes me (unless priests cheat us laymen)
To a world where will be no further throwing
Pearls before swine that can't value them. Amen!
SONG FROM “PIPPA PASSES."
THE year 's at the spring,
And day 's at the morn ;
Morning 's at seven ;
The hill-side 's dew-pearled ;
The lark 's on the wing ;
The snail 's on the thorn;
God 's in His heaven-
All 's right with the world.
6. HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS
FROM GHENT TO AIX."
I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he ; I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three ; “Good speed !” cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew;
Speed !” echoed the wall to us galloping through ; Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest, And into the midnight we galloped abreast.
Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique right,
Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker the bit,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.
’T was moonset at starting ; but while we drew near Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear ;
“ HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS
At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see ;
At Düffeld, 't was morning as plain as could be ;
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half
So, Joris broke silence with, “ Yet there is time !"
At Aershot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare thro’ the mist at us galloping past,
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
With resolute shoulders, each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray :
And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
And one eye's black intelligence,-ever that glance
O’er its white edge at me, his own master, askance !
And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon
His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.
By Hasselt, Dirck groaned ; and cried Joris “Stay spur ! “ Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault 's not in her, “We'll remember at Aix”—for one heard the quick wheeze Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.
So, we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff;
Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white,
And “ Gallop,” gasped Joris, “ for Aix is in sight!
“ How they 'll greet us !”—and all in a moment his roan
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.
Then I cast loose my buffcoat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear, Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer; Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, bad or
good, Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.
And all I remember is, friends flocking round
As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground;
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news from
HEAP cassia, sandal-buds and stripes
Of labdanum, and aloe-balls,
Smeared with dull nard an Indian wipes
From out her hair : such balsam falls
Down sea-side mountain pedestals,